Maintenance Plan Between Marathons

With the marathon season now over, I’ve been pondering what my maintenance plan should entail until I begin the next marathon training cycle in the late summer.  There are a few things I would like to improve upon and this will be an excellent opportunity to incorporate some new conditioning into my training regimen.  My flexibility is severely lacking and feel working on this area will help me avoid injury as I get older.  I also want to increase my core strength and engage in more complementary cross-training activities.  These activities should allow me build greater muscle strength and balance.

During this maintenance period, I plan to continue to run three times a week.  I will run intervals on Tuesday, a tempo run on Thursday, and a long run on Sunday.  My target will be about 30 miles a week.  On the other four days I plan to cross-train or strength train for at least an hour.  Cross-training will include a combination cycling (stationary bike or outdoor rides), indoor rowing, stair climbing, walking and elliptical.  Strength training will include some free weights, body weight, and kettlebell exercises.  For flexibility, I’ll do 20 to 30 minutes of stretching or yoga five times a week in the evenings.

I’ll continue to eat as healthy as possible, with lots of high quality carbs, fruits, vegetables, fish and minimal red meat.  My basic rule is to try and eat healthy at least 80 – 90% of the time.  The goal will be to keep my weight in the mid-140 lbs and I’ll weigh myself every Saturday morning.

It has been three weeks since I ran the Nagano Marathon and it has been a nice change of pace to just run for the sake of running.  Most of my running lately has been at a relatively leisurely pace, but I think it is time to begin sharpening the saw a bit.  I’m not an advocate of becoming too complacent between marathon training cycles since I find it very difficult to regain lost fitness when it is time to ramp things up again.  Inevitably during the maintenance period some fitness will be lost due to the reduced running volume and running in the blistering summer heat, but I usually try to maintain conditioning at 80% of my peak.

To remain motivated between marathons, this is a good time to run some shorter races, such as the 5K or 10K.  I have not had a chance to determine what local races are coming up, but plan to start honing in on a couple.  I also need to start seriously thinking about what marathons I want to target this upcoming marathon season.  I have been putting this off since I’m uncertain where I’ll be living this fall, although I do know I’ll run the Boston Marathon next April regardless of where I’m living.  Hopefully, I’ll have more clarity of where I’ll be living within a month.

So I guess the vacation is over and it is time to focus and get back to work.

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4 Responses to Maintenance Plan Between Marathons

  1. Ted says:

    While it isn’t a AIMS race (so you can’t use it for Boston), how about 磐梯高原猪苗代湖マラソン? The lake / area is beautiful!

  2. Anne Macklem says:

    Hi there. came across your site while checking out running marathon maintenance programs. Running one May 25 then another in July and another in October and insure of how much mileage I should put in in between. Although I think I will just start my program over again each time. That’s what I’m thinking would work best.

    • Hi Anne! The May and July race seems a little close, so if it were me, I’d probably take at two weeks rest after the May race (assuming you are running the May race hard), train moderately hard for a few more weeks, then taper again. For the October race, yeah, you can probably take a little time off and put in a couple months of training. It’s a little tricky having races so close together, normally I can run one hard, but then the other one will just be for fun. Everyone if different, of course, but I think the risk of injury increases substantially right after running a marathon, so I try to take it easy for a few weeks after a race to make sure I’m fully recovered before gearing up for the next race. Best of luck with your upcoming races!

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